Motorcycling Through the Great State of New York

It was my first visit to New York. I’d arrived at the state line, alone, expecting to meet up with my brother and sister-in-law at some point in the next couple of days as they rode down from Maine, but for the time being, I was a lone wolf on the country roads, sheltered by a canopy of red, orange, and yellow leaves. We’d chosen October specifically for this reason, for the changing New England leaves, and for the cooler riding conditions. I wanted to get some good riding in before we needed to switch over to heated riding gear.

New York Motorcycle Trip

But, frankly, as excited as I was, I was also a little nervous. A single woman riding around the back roads all alone? The bike usually scared off most rabble rousers, but it could attract a totally different set. I was only interested in twisty, well-kept roads. Not in deflecting unwanted advances—or worse. Not that I had ever really had a problem before.

 

I decided to take the Sunrise Bypass to Montauk route and then double back and head north to meet up with my family after a couple of days of exploring. Equipped with just my map and a sandwich, I started off early in the morning, enjoying the crisp breeze in my hair, loving the sound of the air whipping past my face and the blur of the leaves as I raced along the twisty road. It was largely deserted, except for a group of three other motorcycle enthusiasts, who were taking their time, looking at the foliage. I gave them a wave as I went past and exchanged a peace sign with a portly gentleman who had the same make and model motorcycle as the mine.

 

There was also a tanker truck, jackknifed in the middle of the road, just as I came around a particularly thrilling twist. I slammed on the brakes without shifting down and heard something give inside the gearbox as I shuttered to a stop, almost losing stability and spinning out, just like this guy had obviously done.

 

He was alright, and so was the funky little sedan that hit him, but when I tried to get my bike going again, it was shot. Splendid. I’d be stuck on the side of the road for hours waiting for my brother to drive down here, and then it would take hours again for us to figure out the problem and somehow get the bike to a shop. That was the plan—until that gang of three other motorcyclists caught up with me.

 

They stopped and asked what was wrong and I sheepishly said that I didn’t know, embarrassed that though I’d been on this monster of a bike for six years, I wasn’t certain about what had happened. Luckily, the portly gentleman had been riding a lot longer and was far better equipped than I was. He scolded me for running down my gears, pulled a few from his extensive supply of extra parts, and I was on my way again, this time with three new companions. I am ever so thankful for the kindness of New York bikers.

What You Should Know about Traveling by Motorcycle in Mexico

If you are considering taking a motorcycle trip through Mexico, the first thing you want to know is that it is going to be hot. If you are a lover of the desert, you are in for some fantastic vistas, windy roads, and incredible rides. Aside from the abundant wildlife and the unique, almost extraterrestrial environment, you may be concerned about how dangerous it may be to travel in Mexico. Others of you probably don’t care—motorcycle riding is already a dangerous pursuit, why not add a little more danger in?

Motorcycle in Mexico

In general, reports of Mexico’s danger have been largely exaggerated, especially if you are a smart traveler. Governments and media alike have disseminated not necessarily false, but inflated claims of violence against foreigners, especially “migrant” travelers, like motorcycle riders, who are constantly on the move and sometimes difficult for the government to track. Largely, these reports play into a fear that the public has already cultivated.

 

But, let’s be honest. There are bad people everywhere. There are likely parts of your own city or town that you avoid because you know only trouble waits there. Mexico is the same way. If you want to stay safe, there are some parts that you avoid. If you want to enjoy the sun, sand, and people, there are plenty of places in Mexico that are welcoming, friendly, and perfectly safe.

 

Every border in the world has seen some turmoil. Right now, the border between the U.S. and Mexico is experiencing a little bit of tension, but it’s nothing like, let’s say, the border between the Ukraine and Russia right now. If you are crossing the border on one of the major thoroughfares, going through border control, however, you’re not going to have any problems, just as the hundreds of thousands of people who do that every year have absolutely no problems.

 

One of the biggest lies that is told about Mexico is the high murder rate. The truth is that more people are killed in Washington D.C. each year than are killed in Mexico’s capital city. There is just as much gang activity in any large U.S. city as there is anywhere in Mexico. For some reason, people really enjoy talking up all of the dangers in Mexico when those same dangers exist in the U.S.

 Mexico motorcycle trips

The best way to get into Mexico is to cross the border in the morning. Stay somewhere close to the border the night before and cross as early in the morning as you can. Like any highway, driving at night can be dangerous and should be avoided. Be respectful, especially of police officers. If an officer tries to fine you on the spot, ask them to lead you to the nearest station, where you will be happy to pay a fine for any laws you have actually broken. Use your head and you’ll be perfectly safe!

Top Motorcycle Destinations in Sunny California

There are few places in the world as perfect for motorcycle riders as California. With warm, temperate weather and a wide range of terrains to enjoy, the Golden State has great destinations for the casual rider and avid motorcyclist alike. With roadside country stores, unspoiled wilderness, and reservoirs to discover, you can spend years exploring just California astride a bike and never finish seeing everything there is to see along the highways. Though Cali is famous for its traffic jams, there are plenty of ways to skirt the big cities and avoid the cars for a great ride.

 Motorcycle in California

  1. Mojave National Preserve – Here is where mountains and desert meet. This high desert has glorious pink sand, shaped into dunes, and plenty of unique desert plants unfamiliar to someone who has never spent time in the dry heat. The road around the preserve is a twisty, well-kept ride.

 

  1. Uvas Reservoir – The reservoir sits poised between two sets of hills, reflecting the blue of the sky on a clear day. The road that gets you to and around the reservoir has been freshly resurfaced and is a fairly straight shot, allowing you to focus on the roadside views.

 

  1. Titlow Hill – This hill is actually a mountain, with thick forests, frequented by deer. Stopping off the side of the road by Titlow Hill—and because the ride is challenging, many people do stop to take a breather half way through—you will fall in love with cool, clean mountain air.

 

  1. Ben Lomond – Ben Lomond is a small town on the edge of the redwood forest. Getting to this charming little hamlet will take you past some of the world’s oldest and most beautiful trees and the town can be either the end or the beginning of a lovely ride through these forests.

 

  1. Rock Store – Once a small, roadside grocery story, Rock Store has blossomed into a gathering place for motorcycle enthusiasts. Getting to Rock Store via Mulholland Highway (the recommend method) will take you through some of California’s most twisty and beautiful scenery. Don’t forget to pull off and take in the rock cliff faces and green forests.

 

  1. Big Bear – Big Bear has always been a gathering place for those who love the outdoors, but the look around the lap is also great for motorcycle riders. Whether you want to camp along the water or splurge on a fancy hotel, don’t forget to take in the panoramic views of the water and forests.

 

  1. Death Valley – If you want to feel to feel completely transported, completely removed from the world, the very best destination in California is Death Valley. There is something eerily alien about the desert here, and standing alongside the road, you will feel as though you’ve left earth behind. The ride is twisty, but not too involved that you can’t enjoy the scenery.